Find My Phone: Mini-Doc of What Happens to Your Phone After a Theft

In an epic saga, one Dutch student recorded his exploits to retrieve his phone and documented it in a short filmed aptly titled “Find My Phone.”

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After a woman stole his iPhone, student Anthony van der Meer decided to see what actually happened to stolen phones. As a cinema student, van der Meer transformed a bad experience into a new experiment.

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He said the theft that inspired the project occurred while he had dinner in a cafe. He reported the incident to local police, but they weren’t much help. Van der Meer then decided to take matters into his own hands. He discovered the anti-theft app Cerberus and wanted to start tracking phones.



find-my-phone-8[Image Source: Find My Phone]

The software on his phone let him access location, messages, pictures, videos and all the device’s contents. The app even allowed him to control its microphone and camera whenever it was turned on and connected to the internet.

find-my-phone-5[Image Source: Find My Phone]

“Initially it’s about what happens to a stolen phone. It is a portrait of someone who steals a phone. But it will also be aware of what you actually all share a phone. I could so much information about him figure out just because he has a phone in his pocket that he uses occasionally. What if that happens to me now? How much you share with such a device, without knowing that? “

find-my-phone-4[Image Source: Find My Phone]

Van der Meer and his friends then downloaded the software onto an Android phone. They left the modified device in an Amsterdam metro station and waited for someone to take it. After a few days of waiting, their subject stole the phone and the journey started. Van der Meer listened to the thief’s calls, took photos, read his messages, and even recorded both video and audio.

find-my-phone-1[Image Source: Find My Phone]

According to Van der Meer, he initially just wanted to satisfy his curiosity. Globally, millions of phones are stolen each year. Last year in the US alone, 2.1 million people reported a stolen phone. In Amsterdam, there’s an average of 17 daily phone thefts. Van der Meer both wanted to see what happened to your stolen devices, but also inform viewers as to how much personal information we share.

find-my-phone-3[Image Source: Find My Phone]

“When I was looking for a way to spy on a stolen phone, I also investigated the illegal ways. Before that, I did research on the deep web, the part of the Internet that is not searchable by search engines like Google, and therefore invisible to the majority of web users. There is a whole market of phone viruses that do exactly what I show in the film. That would not tell you, but when you see the confrontational”.

Through the documentary, van der Meer truly invades someone’s life through chance: reading his messages, watching his conversations, listening to his dates, and stalking his relations with girls. He even listens while the man is praying.

“I went to sleep with it. I got more and more the feeling that I knew this man because I could look directly into his life via his phone. In that feeling is concerned, espionage tricky. Can arise that you have much control over someone besides, you feel a constant tension. Would he have had it by also affect me?”

If you like to see other works of van der Meer, check his site here.